Gifts for the New Year

I’ve been quiet lately–since about Thanksgiving, actually, and have been wondering why I don’t seem to have a writing voice. It happens to writers far more prolific and skilled than I, so I haven’t worried much about it, thinking the shorter days had brought a time of gathering, of rumination.

So yesterday I was a little surprised to finally realize what has been nagging quietly in my mind; it has been an unconscious nudging, a reminder that my mother died five years ago come Monday, January 6th.

I’ve had anniversaries such as this sneak up on me before.

One occurred a decade ago, just before my birthday. I was in a foul humor, feeling irritable and sniping at my husband. For no reason.

Something was wrong, but I didn’t know what. Then I realized–I was about to turn an age that my cousin Kirk would never be. His death due to cancer five months earlier had devastated me, for sure–we were close, having grown up first cousins of the same age (he was less than half a year older) in the same small town, attending the same church and belonging to the same class throughout twelve years in our tiny school. Though still grieving, I did not understand why my birthday, usually a time for celebration, dredged up such anger at the world.

After a few days, the answer came to me: not only was the world a lesser place without Kirk in it, but it permanently tilted askew if I was now older than he.

This is how my mind works: yesterday was the first day of the new year, a beautiful warm, sunny gift here in the Texas hill country.

I visited my gray horse T.J., pastured near our home with my friend Sarah’s herd. He trotted to me, and as I greeted him, I heard an unusual call and looked far up and away to see a huge bird approaching.

It turned out to be another gift: a juvenile golden eagle which soared directly over T.J. and me, white markings against dark underwings against blue, blue sky.

My mother would have loved seeing it. And she would have loved knowing, if she could, that I use her own fifty-plus-year-old saddle–now repaired and restored–to ride T.J.



And she would love that he is gray, the same color as Tony Boy, my name for the hand-made wooden rocking horse she and my daddy designed and created with their own hands for the small-child-me, so many years ago for Christmas.
Tony Boy

The sight of that regal bird above my well-loved gray horse made me recognize why I’ve been quiet.

I’ve been missing my mom.

*                                  *                                      *

Writing Practice:

Do certain times of the year stir up unconscious emotions? Describe them.

What gifts has the new year brought for you? What opportunities do you anticipate?

6 thoughts on “Gifts for the New Year

  1. Thank you so much for sharing from your heart, I know how you feel, I miss my mom and Art’s mom too and always will but they are both with me everyday and everyday I feel their love.

    • Thank you so much, Judy. It’s interesting to me that the five year anniversary should make me miss her more. Perhaps these anniversaries are gifts themselves–ways to keep our loved ones closer in memory. Love to you and Art!

  2. This lovely quiet piece brings back good memories of driving through
    the Texas hill country several years ago – an area I always associate with you and Ron.

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